Embracing technology has allowed companies to flourish amidst the pandemic

Canada’s leading companies are prioritizing employees and customers by allowing themselves to go digital first
Canadian Business

For the past few months, we’ve been looking into the management DNA of Canada’s Best Managed Companies to see what makes them successful and how they’ve pivoted to embrace the challenges of the past year. Digitization was a major focus: These companies have been actively investing in transformation and digitization to facilitate e-commerce and remote working, creating virtual interactions with customers and enhancing operations across the board.

“Best Managed Companies have accelerated their focus on the future by embracing digitization and technology as foundational investments to allow them to compete in the ‘new normal’ emerging post pandemic,” explains Peter Brown, co-lead of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and Partner at Deloitte Private. Until we’re on the other side of this pandemic, the “new normal” has yet to be defined, but a lot of these companies are choosing to keep a lot of the practices they’ve implemented to keep their customers and employees a priority. Here’s what they’ve been doing.

Peter Brown, co-lead of Canada’s Best Managed Companies program and Partner at Deloitte Private

Moving to digitization and cloud-based services

One of the top operating-model priorities that Best Managed Companies have is to enhance their IT infrastructure—doing so allows them to handle the growing need to conduct business virtually. For both consumers and consumer-based organizations, the cloud makes numerous daily activities easier and more seamless. It drives uninterrupted experiences, better company-consumer engagement and stronger financials: a win-win-win situation. Businesses are taking the time to define their digital narrative, and letting their customers guide them to where they need to be. In order to do that, they are freeing themselves from legacy-system constraints—sometimes difficult to do, but a necessary push for change—and focusing on outcomes, not just roadmaps.

Organizations also are taking the opportunity to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to build a culture of actionable knowledge-sharing and knowledge-creation that strengthens organizational connectivity. It affords the organization resilience to be able to withstand—and even to thrive in—environments of disruption, uncertainty, and change: something this past year has had its share of.

Focusing on innovation

While other companies have been cutting discretionary costs during the pandemic, many Best Managed Companies have stressed the need to maintain and accelerate research and development (R&D) activities to ensure they hit the recovery phase with the best possible suite of products, services and innovations. Many of them are focusing on how they elevate the customer’s buying experience using digital tools to make a virtual purchase easier or more user-friendly, especially for products that are more traditionally bought in-person.. The same can be said for some of these companies’ employee services, which have been moved to a self-service model, eliminating some red tape and allowing for a more streamlined experience for all.

Enabling a remote workforce

The pandemic has created a huge pendulum swing toward working remotely and has proven that with the right infrastructure, the need for a physical office space has become almost obsolete. Best Managed Companies have been setting up remote-work capabilities to enable physical distancing of employees and a safe and functioning work environment; while investigating and investing in the proper tools, protocols, training and processes is allowing for easier collaboration, quicker turnaround time and cost savings as a result of less travel. In becoming office agnostic, businesses are unloading real estate assets as less office space is needed, allowing candidates from across the nation—or even the globe—to be chosen for roles, creating stronger teams with a more diverse skill set and knowledge base.